Colorado Supreme Court On Inquiry and Notice

Unfortunately the Colorado Court did not continue its strong position on notice they had in the 2006 ex rel B.H. case.

Thus, as the divisions in A-J.A.B. and Jay.J.L. aptly noted, B.H. “required notice to tribes under a different criterion than the one in effect today.” A-J.A.B., ¶ 76, 511 P.3d at 763; Jay.J.L., ¶ 32, 514 P.3d at 319. As such, B.H. is inapposite.

¶56 In short, while assertions of a child’s Indian heritage gave a juvenile court “reason to believe” that the child was an Indian child under Colorado law in 2006, see B.H., 138 P.3d at 303–04 (emphasis added), the question we confront in this case is whether such assertions give a juvenile court “reason to know” that the child is an Indian child under Colorado law in 2022, § 19-1-126(1)(b) (emphasis added). We agree with the divisions in A-J.A.B. and Jay.J.L. that mere assertions of a child’s Indian heritage (including those that specify a tribe or multiple tribes by name), without more, are not enough to give a juvenile court reason to know that the child is an Indian child. And, correspondingly, to the extent that other divisions of the court of appeals have expressly or impliedly reached a contrary conclusion, we overrule those decisions.

Opinion Here 22SC29

The Indian Law Clinic at MSU represented the tribal amici in this case, the Ute Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian Tribes.

Decision out of the Colorado Supreme Court on the Tribal Enrollment Hearing

The Indian Law Clinic represented the Chickasaw Nation in this case.

In their petitions, the parties asked us to address whether (1) ICWA requires
a district court to hold an enrollment hearing in circumstances like those present
here as a prerequisite to the termination of parental rights; (2) a district court can
order the Department to enroll children over a parent’s objection; and (3) the
division below erred in reversing the district court’s judgment rather than
ordering a limited remand.

All of the parties before us, and the Nation itself, agree that the division
erred in requiring an enrollment hearing. Because we perceive no statutory basis
for such a hearing, and because such a hearing conflicts with the Nation’s exclusive
right to determine who is an enrolled citizen, we agree that the division erred in
requiring such a hearing.


With respect to the second issue presented, we note that neither parent
objected to the children’s enrollment. Accordingly, the issue as presented in the
petition for certiorari is not properly before us. In their briefs, however, the parties
appear to construe the question presented more broadly, namely, as asking us to

decide whether the Department has an obligation to assist children who are
eligible for enrollment in becoming enrolled citizens of a tribal nation. Although
the issue is an important one and may call for legislative action, we conclude that
under current law, the Department has no such obligation. In certain
circumstances, however, it might well be the better practice for the Department to
advise on and perhaps assist with the enrollment process.

Oral Argument in Colorado Supreme Court Case [ICWA]

Here

Colorado Gazette article on the case here.

Write up by MSU on the case here

When the Logan County, Colorado Department of Human Services removed two infant twin girls from the custody of their mother, the mother told the department that their father might have Chickasaw heritage. The department sent notice to the Chickasaw Nation, which responded that the children were eligible for citizenship and sent the necessary tribal citizenship forms to the department.

The Chickasaw Nation never got those forms back.

To all appearances, the agency simply ignored the notice from the Chickasaw Nation, and the Nation received no communication from the State. The State filed to terminate the mother’s parental rights and only at that point did Logan County disclose to the juvenile court that the children were eligible for enrollment in the Chickasaw Nation.

Colorado COA Dismisses Colorado AG’s Appeal of Cash Advance Matter

Here:

Colorado v Cash Advance Colo. COA Opinion

Lower court opinion here.

Colorado SCT Water Rights Ruling

Here is the opinion in Pawnee Well Users Inc. v. Wolfe (Colo.).

The court’s summary:

2013 CO 67. No. 12SA13. Pawnee Well Users, Inc.v. Wolfe, State Engineer.
Ground Water Regulation—Administrative Law and Procedure—Rules, Regulations, and Other Policymaking—Judicial Review of Administrative Proceedings.

The Supreme Court held that the water court erred in invalidating a basin-specific rule of the final Produced Nontributary Ground Water Rules (Final Rules) known as the Fruitland Rule, based on a stipulated agreement between the State Engineer and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe. Another Final Rule—known as the Tribal Rule—states: “These Rules and regulations shall not be construed to establish the jurisdiction of either the State of Colorado or the Southern Ute Indian Tribe over nontributary ground water within the boundaries of the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.”

The Tribal Rule does not and cannot divest the State Engineer of his authority to promulgate the Final Rules governing water extracted during oil and gas production throughout the state, including nontributary groundwater. By passing HB 1303, the General Assembly authorized the State Engineer to adopt rules to assist with the administration of nontributary ground water extracted in the course of coalbed methane production and other oil and gas development in Colorado, thus authorizing the State Engineer to promulgate the Fruitland Rule. Because administrative agencies powers and duties as given by the legislature, the State Engineer cannot establish or disestablish his own jurisdiction.

Further, because the Fruitland Rule was issued pursuant to the authority granted in HB 1303—authority that was not divested by the Tribal Rule—it follows that the water court erred in labeling the Fruitland Rule an “advisory” rule and requiring the State Engineer to obtain a judicial determination that he had authority to administer nontributary ground water within the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Reservation’s boundaries. The Court therefore reversed the water court’s order and remanded the case for further proceedings.

Colorado Supreme Court Rules against Ward Churchill

Here is the opinion.

The briefs are here.

From the court’s syllabus:

The supreme court affirms the court of appeals and the trial court, both of which held that Professor Ward Churchill was not entitled to any of the remedies that he sought. Churchill brought a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that the University of Colorado at Boulder opened an investigation into his academic integrity in retaliation for the publication of a controversial essay, and that both the investigation and resulting termination of his employment violated his free speech rights. The proceedings against Churchill took more than two years and included five separate opportunities for Churchill to present witnesses, cross-examine adverse witnesses, and argue his positions. It possessed the characteristics of an adversary proceeding and was functionally comparable to a judicial proceeding. Hence, the supreme court holds that the Regents’ termination proceeding was a quasi-judicial proceeding, and the Regents are entitled to absolute immunity.
The supreme court also affirms the trial court’s ruling denying Churchill request to be reinstated and to receive front pay. The trial court accepted as fact that the University’s investigation found that Churchill had plagiarized his academic writings, fabricated evidence, and violated the University’s academic standards. The trial court ruled that reinstating Churchill would not be appropriate because the relationship between Churchill and the University has been irreparably damaged. Reinstating Churchill, the trial court ruled, would harm the University’s ability to enforce its standards of academic integrity and could impair the University’s ability to attract good students and faculty. The trial court’s rulings and findings did not constitute an abuse of its discretion and these rulings are affirmed.

Thanks for D.L. on the DL for the head’s up. Actually, it’s not on the DL. I just couldn’t resist.

Colorado Trial Court Quashes Subpoenas and Vacates Bench Warrants in Cash Advance Remand

Here is that opinion:

Order

Here is the Colorado Supreme Court decision remanding the case back to the trial court.

State Supreme Court Outcomes: Colorado and Oregon

Two more states with intermediate appellate courts. You may wonder why I think that’s important, while KF thinks whether the judges are elected or appointed is important. We’re working on it.

In Oregon, tribal interests win at a 40 percent rate.

In Colorado, tribal interests win at a 67 percent rate.

Here are the Oregon cases:

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